Melania Trump is set to auction off the ‘iconic’ white hat she wore for her husband’s first official state visit from a foreign head of state as part of an ‘important’ and ‘one-of-a-kind’ $250,000 sale commemorating the former President’s milestone.
The 51-year-old former First Lady announced the launch of her ‘Head of State’ auction on Tuesday – just weeks after selling her first-ever non-fungible token (NFT) – revealing three different items that will be sold off together, including a second NFT created by Marc-Antoine Coulon, the same man behind her first digital portrait.
In addition to the wide-brimmed white hat worn by Melania to welcome French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte to the White House in April 2018, the auction also features a watercolor painting by Coulon of the former First Lady wearing the bold accessory, as well as a moving digital NFT version of the artwork.
All three items included in the auction – which opens on January 11 with a starting bid of $250,000, or 1415.86 Solana (SOL), a form of cryptocurrency – are signed by Melania, while both versions of her portrait also featuring the artist’s autograph.
Melania Trump is auctioning off the ‘one-of-a-kind’ wide-brimmed white hat she wore when her husband hosted his first state visit at the White House in April 2018
The 51-year-old is also selling a portrait of herself wearing the hat, as well as a digital non-fungible token (NFT) version of the painting as part of the auction, which starts at $250,000
Non-fungible tokens – or NFTs – are unique and non-interchangeable units of data stored on a digital ledger or blockchains, the same technology behind cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. They have been gaining popularity as of late, especially with viral cryptocurrency hits like Dogecoin and Bitcoin.
Melania’s watercolor portrait (pictured) and digital artwork were painted by French artist Marc-Antoine Coulon – the same man who created her first NFT last month
Announcing the auction via her official office, Melania recalled the significance of the Macrons’ visit to the White House, while detailing the ‘great consideration’ that went into the planning of her ensemble for the occasion, which saw her pairing the wide-brimmed hat with a white skirt suit designed by Michael Kors.
‘Mrs. Trump recognized this important moment for the country, and accordingly, a great deal of consideration went into the planning,’ a statement on her website explains.
‘With a nod to French culture, Mrs. Trump commissioned French-American designer, Hervé Pierre, to create the one-of-a-kind, white hat.
‘Mr. Pierre used the same fabric as Mrs. Trump’s white Michael Kors suit, and constructed the piece in New York City. Mrs. Trump wore a pair of Christian Louboutin stilettos in blue denim, white trim and a red sole, symbolic of her country’s flag.
‘Mrs. Trump envisioned a very strong, modern hat with a large brim that matched the Michael Kors suit perfectly.
The hat was designed by milliner Hervé Pierre with input from Melania, who ‘envisioned a very strong, modern’ piece with a ‘large brim’ to match the Michael Kors suit she wore for the visit
Melania announced the launch of the auction on her Twitter account on Tuesday, directing her followers to preview the collection on her website, where the auction will be hosted
While announcing the auction on her website, Melania detailed the ‘great consideration’ that went into the planning of her ensemble for Emmanuel and Brigitte Macron’s state visit in 2018
‘The elegant hat, without ornate decoration, spoke loudly to Mrs. Trump’s admiration for millinery design and superior craftsmanship. This one-of-a-kind hat was constructed from the same white crepe textile as the suit, and fabricated in New York City.’
Melania’s latest auction launch comes less than a month after she announced the sale of her first-ever NFT: a digital watercolor painting of her eyes, which came complete with an audio message detailing her ‘vision’.
‘My vision is: Look forward with inspiration, strength and courage,’ she stated in the brief recording.
Entitled ‘Melania’s Vision’, the digital painting – which was signed by Melania and Coulon – was initially valued at around $185, however the former First Lady has not yet disclosed how much it was eventually auctioned off for.
As with her first NFT auction, some of the funds from this latest sale will be donated to children living in the foster care system, in order to provide them with ‘access to computer science and technology education’.
At the time of the first NFT launch, Melania announced her plans to auction off more items in the future, with her office stating that further sales would include a trio of elements: a digital artwork, a physical artwork, and a physical accessory of historic note.
In the year since her husband’s exit from the White House, Melania has maintained a relatively low public profile, however she was seen with Trump at a New Year’s Eve party at Mar-a-Lago
The latest auction launch comes just weeks after Melania put her first NFT artwork up for sale – a digital watercolor portrait of her eyes, which came complete with an audio message
In the year since former President Trump’s exit from the White House, Melania has maintained a relatively low profile, preferring to shy away from the public eye, while her husband has continued to make regular appearances at events and rallies.
However, in recent months, the former First Lady has taken several steps back into the spotlight, both through the launch of her NFT gallery and appearances at a handful of public events, including a New Year’s Eve party at Mar-a-Lago.
Speaking to conservative outlet Breitbart News about the launch of her NFT endeavor last month, Melania explained that the project had been a part of her ‘vision’ ever since the end of Trump’s presidency, explaining: ‘Since leaving the White House, I have envisioned creating a new platform where Freedom of Speech can flourish.
‘My new NFT gallery, MelaniaTrump.com, uses the decentralized nature of Blockchain Technology, and gives a direct connection to people worldwide,’ she added.
‘My love of the arts is showing in my first NFT, Melania’s Vision, which I created with artist, Marc-Antoine Coulon. A portion of the sales from NFT will be donated to children in the foster community.
‘My Be Best initiative, Fostering the Future, will provide students a range of technology skills to prepare them for the workforce. I am excited to inspire America’s next generation of entrepreneurs.’
Melania Trump’s latest venture: What are NFTs and how do you buy them?
What is a NFT?
A Non-Fungible Token (NFT) is a unique digital token encrypted with an artist’s signature and which verifies its ownership and authenticity and is permanently attached to the piece.
What do they look like?
Most NFTs include some kind digital artwork, such as photos, videos, GIFs, and music. Theoretically, anything digital could be turned into a NFT.
Where do you buy them?
At the moment, NFTs are most commonly sold in so-called ‘drops’, timed online sales by blockchain-backed marketplaces like Nifty Gateway, Opensea and Rarible.
Why would I want to own one?
There’s an array of reasons why someone may want to buy a NFT. For some, the reason may be emotional value, because NFTs are seen as collectors items. For others, they are seen as an investment opportunity similar to cryptocurrencies, because the value could increase.
When were NFTs created?
Writer and podcaster Andrew Steinwold traced the origins of NFTs back to 2012, with the creation of the Colored Coins cryptocurrency. But NFTs didn’t move into the mainstream until five years later, when the blockchain game CryptoKitties began selling virtual cats in 2017.